Andrew Strauss will captain England in the first Test against West Indies at Lord's on Thursday, and wicket-keeper Matt Prior will make his Test debut.
Strauss was captain for the summer 2006 Tests against Pakistan
Michael Vaughan misses out after failing to recover from a broken finger, but will hope to be fit for the second Test at Headingley from 25 May.
Batsman Owais Shah is included, but there are no places for Lancashire pair James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood.
Liam Plunkett is one of three Durham players to feature in a squad of 12.
As expected, number one batsman Kevin Pietersen has shrugged off a calf muscle injury to be fit for selection.
Strauss led England to a 3-0 Test series win over Pakistan in the summer of 2006 when both Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff were injured.
Though Flintoff is fit and will play at Lord's, the Lancashire all-rounder struggled as captain during the Ashes tour and was later stripped of the vice-captaincy for indiscipline during the World Cup.
Prior has beaten England's World Cup wicket-keeper Paul Nixon to selection, despite enduring some rocky form with the bat for Sussex in the early part of the season.
Shah scored 88 in his only Test appearance in Mumbai in March 2006, and has been a heavy run-scorer for Middlesex in the past three seasons.
It was felt he struggled to fit into previous coach Duncan Fletcher's long-term plans, but has worked well with new coach Peter Moores at the Academy.
Assuming Pietersen is fit, however, Shah is likely to be left out of the starting side with England set to play four seamers and a spinner in the Test.
Chairman of selectors David Graveney told BBC Radio Five Live: "Everybody is aware that [Vaughan] fractured his finger, unfortunately, in the game against Hampshire.
At the present stage he can get his hand in a glove and he is doing really well
David Graveney on Michael Vaughan
"We monitored his progress and we felt that there was a very slim chance of him playing.
"We did not want to go down the route of injections or him trying to play when not 100% fit and I don't think it would have been fair to Andrew Strauss either.
"The waters would have been muddied. He will be with the team and will continue his rehab and hopefully will be fit for the second Test.
"With a broken finger you suddenly turn a corner. At the present stage he can get his hand in a glove and he is doing really well.
"But let's not take the risk. We have done this before, trying to cut corners. Let nature take its course.
"The selectors came to the conclusion that Andrew Strauss did a very good job last summer but in Andrew Flintoff's case we want him to concentrate on his batting and bowling."
Matt Prior has been a consistent performer for Sussex in the past
Unsurprisingly, Graveney admitted the wicket-keeping area had been a prime area of debate.
He said: "There are a lot of contenders out there to keep wicket. We only put two wicket-keepers in the performance squad but we could have put six in.
"[Prior] has been involved with the set-up and has played international one-day cricket. It was a close call but his capabilities of scoring runs, which he has shown over quite a long period of time with Sussex, probably swung the balance."
Plunkett will be one of the happiest men in English cricket following the squad announcement.
A peripheral figure on the Ashes tour, he mystifyingly lost his place in the one-day starting XI during the World Cup despite some strong performances.
But he has outbowled both Anderson and Mahmood in county cricket this season. Anderson, however, has been placed on official stand-by.
Graveney said there was no intention of picking Marcus Trescothick "in the foreseeable future" after the Somerset man's various stress-related problems.
England squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior, Liam Plunkett, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Monty Panesar, Owais Shah.